Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tom Glocer has been celebrating the success of the three-year integration process that melded Thomson with Reuters. But the chief executive of the information and media group needs to beware overstating the value of its ownership model. In a recent Financial Times interview, he said that Thomson Reuters – 55 per cent of which belongs to a family investment company – had “what may become the defining corporate structure of the best institutions for the next 20 years”.

John Gapper

The most popular measure in selling news and entertainment sites to advertisers at the moment is “uniques” – the number of people who visit a site at least once a month. The more I hear about it, the more I question it. Read more

Andrew Hill

Where consulting meets academia, there is a grey area. Where consulting and academia meet regime change, the grey area can be red-hot.  Monitor Group – the management consulting firm co-founded by Harvard professors – is the latest to concede that it was burnt by work it did in Libya. Read more

Late on Sunday night, Wolf Blitzer, the news anchor on CNN, was visibly struggling not to tell his 9m viewers something a lot of them already knew or suspected – that Osama bin Laden was dead. The rumour broke out on Twitter at 10.25pm but it was only 20 minutes later that he reported the fact.

Andrew Hill

Much has been made of the independence or otherwise of Glencore’s non-executive directors and of the inappropriate and unhelpful remarks of its chairman, Simon Murray, about women in the boardroom (there are none in Glencore’s*).

But I wonder how strong a challenge even the most independent directors can mount to hardened executives who are steeped in the Glencore corporate culture. Read more

Effective immediately. The phrase – often attached to urgent appointments or dismissals of front-line staff – could be a mantra for chief executives. It is a two-word summary of what many business leaders believe is their purpose: to get things done now. It seems to say: “Not only did I identify the problem, but by the time you read this, I will have dealt with it and moved on to the next challenge.”

John Gapper

The annual shareholders’ meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska produced a modest mea culpa about how Mr Buffett had initially handled the David Sokol affair, but little sign that the company’s corporate governance or approach to leadership succession will change hugely.

Perhaps it is the wrong venue to expect something radical since, as Dan McCrum reports for the FT, most of the attendees were happy with Mr Buffett’s record as an investor and are not demanding significant changes.

Still, I find it disappointing that Berkshire’s board has so far given no indication of taking a clearer role in selecting Mr Buffett’s successor. He said in a CNBC interview that the board regularly discusses the issue, and that Mr Sokol was not the only (or even the leading) candidate:

“It is a subject that board spends a majority of its time on and people express themselves very vocally at board meetings on the pros and cons of various candidates.”

 Read more